Mark (my atheist ex-pastor friend) lined me up with an informal meet-n-greet with someone from sales at his company. Yesterday I met the sales manager and then went for drinks with one of their top salesmen.
So about Mark’s company…
Mark works for a Christian company that sells to Christian consumers. It’s a well known company and the product is perfectly suited to have ex-pastors sell to churches, pastors, and lay people. Christians aren’t the only customers but they certainly are the bulk. Mark landed this job because all his education and experience made him perfect for it. He works in the marketing department. He’s been trying to get me a job in either sales or customer service.
So as I was talking with Lance, the salesmen, I just came right out and asked about salary:
Me: So how many salesmen do you guys have?
Lance: There’s 20 of us.
Me: Ok, so not to shoot for mediocrity, but what is #10 making a year? What does the middle of the road salesmen make with this company?
Lance: I’d say about $35k a year. I did the math and I think I’m making about $42k. I’m not the top salesmen but I am in the top ranks. Now the bottom guys are probably doing about $25k but if you stay down there too long, you get fired.
A top ranked salesmen is only making $42k? That’s not what I wanted to hear.
Me: So what kind of person is successful at sales in this company and what kind of person washes out?
Lance: Really you just have to make the calls. You have to want to make money and you can’t have reservations about up selling. Sometimes we get “ministry minded people” who don’t sell a lot because they’re so worried about trying to sell someone more product than they need. I used to be like that, but our product is so awesome I know my customers are going to benefit from it even if they don’t “need” it. And honestly, if you don’t upsell then you aren’t going to make any money.
Mark: So you have to be hungry.
Me: That’s not a problem for me.
Lance: But some of it is luck too.
Ok, so money is a problem for me. I’ve never done sales, but I know the product and I know the customer however I don’t know how good I’ll be at this job. If just showing up and making the calls can at least land you in the middle of the pack, the $35k is what I’ll be looking at. That sucks! But will any other company offer me more money? Can I get a job for over $35k?
These aren’t rhetorical questions dear reader, if you know a job I can get and make more money PLEASE let me know.
I also don’t like the idea of working at a Christian company selling to Christian consumers. However, my education and experience suits me for this company and they would easily hire me because of that. What other job is going to look at my resume and say “Seminary education, 10 years as a pastor, those are totally relevant to this position”? Plus, I’ll be working with Mark. It’s nice to have a friend you work with (and not for). It’s nice to know that there is someone like me who understands me that I can see nearly daily.
When we were having drinks with Lance the conversation changed into a debate about the existence of God and whether the God of the Bible was a moral being. Lance is a Christian. It was neat to have intellectual stimulating conversation about what Mark and I have been through. Apparently after hours debates with Mark are common at the company. To be honest, I’m interested in that. Not that I want to deconvert the company, but I like the idea of changing peoples minds about what it means to be an atheist.
If it was more money I would apply tomorrow.